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Legislation to train police dogs to detect fentanyl moves ahead in Olympia

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(The Center Square) – Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, received unanimous support in the state House of Representatives this week for a bill to equip law enforcement in Washington state with additional training for police dogs to sniff out fentanyl.

House Bill 1635 would limit liability arising from the use of trained police dogs by creating a new training and certification program for police dogs to root out the powerful opioid.

The legislation notes no state or local government law enforcement agency is immune from civil damages arising from the use of canines to detect fentanyl.

Mosbrucker’s bill would require the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission to develop model law enforcement standards for police dogs and drug detection.

The same bill was considered last year and during testimony then, Mosbrucker said, “As we train dogs to detect hard drugs and dangerous narcotics being distributed throughout our communities, we need to include fentanyl, which many would argue is the most dangerous at this time.”

This week before the House Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee, she said, “When we have drugs like this being marketed to us looking like Lucky Charms or Skittles, it should be a priority.”

“This bill simply makes sure that the CJTC, Criminal Justice Training Commission, has what it needs to train dogs in the detection of fentanyl,” Mosbrucker explained.

Committee Chair Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland expressed his support for the bill.

“K-9’s are not currently trained to recognize fentanyl, so that’s a missing piece we need to provide,” he said.

If HB 1635 is ultimately passed by the Legislature, fentanyl-sniffing police dog training could begin later this year.

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